Why training is not enough

The difference between learning a new trick and changing your way of working
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Allow me to paint you a familiar picture here. You’ve spent all this money on Office365. It’s there. People have access to all these cool features that will make their lives easier. So, there you are, feeling good about your management skills – you did give your team the proper means to succeed. But then months pass and this uncomfortable feeling creeps upon you that something is not right. Why are you still receiving a ton of emails? Why are there still a gazillion versions of the same document flying around? That’s when you encounter a small problem – no one is using the awesome tools you provided.

Where does that leave you? Great waste of money, great loss of benefits. Why can nobody see that? Using these tools will save us costs and effort in the long run, which we can then use to do other brilliant things. Bonus: you have the pleasure of being held accountable for this suboptimal situation.

The good news is that if you think this is situation is kind of problematic, then at least you’re heading in the right direction. But you’re not there yet.

Tooling is available. So far so good. But people are still showing the same behaviour as before, using exactly 3 of all the available tools and productivity isn’t rocketing. You’re feeling that you’re missing something here. Enter heuristics. Meaning shortcuts that we use to make sense of the world, to make it comprehensible. You’re feeling confused and lost, and feel that you do not have the required (and sufficient) knowledge to change this. An obvious shortcut that you can use here is deciding ‘We need some proper training so we will better understand and make use of the tooling’. (I want to know more about X à Let’s get some training from an expert in X.) If someone tells us where to click and where to look, we’ll be able to use our tooling for the better. Right?

The real question here is if this will make up for the wasted money and loss of benefits?

Best case scenario: usage will increase after the training for a short period of time. You can thank the ‘recency effect’ for that. Usage will increase because it’s top of mind. It will provide you with a couple of good night sleeps and you can het show some great figures to the board. But then you see people falling back into their old habits rapidly.

Wait. What?

The difference between using a tool and adopting a tool

How to use a tool is no rocket science. You can find tips and tricks everywhere. There’s a flood of trainers available that will tell you all about the ins and outs of your tool of choice. Click here, do this, share like that. What you’re doing here, is learning a new trick. You’re learning the ‘what’.

But how do you make it stick?

One-off trainings won’t do the trick. Training and learning should be an ongoing process. You don’t learn how to hit a single-handed backhand like Roger Federer after just one practice. Even if mister Federer himself would deliver the training. And there’s more to it than just learning how to do a trick. You have to be convinced about the added value for you. Why should you do it? Why will this single-handed backhand increase my wins?

Changing your way of working is not a trick. And it’s not (just) about the what. Changing behaviour, your way of working and habits, is all about the ‘why’ and ‘how’. It requires a change process that addresses the bigger picture and focuses on long term wins. Meaning that throwing some tools over the fence, flood people with opportunities and one-off trainings won’t bring you all the benefits you were hoping for.

You’ll need a well-defined, comprehensive plan that will get you from a proper preparation to a solution and way of working that becomes the new normal. It’s complex. The goal is to make this change easier. Don’t overwhelm people with complexity and a lack of perceived added value.

Luckily, you don’t need to do all of this alone. You can still rely on the experts to help you and provide direction. My colleagues and me spend a lot of time trying to make change easy for you. Our PACE methodology is designed to do exactly this. It will help increase user adoption, rather than tool usage. Through 4 phases; Prepare, Activate, Capitalize and Enhance, you’ll have a clear roadmap on how to make change last in your organization.

If you want to know more about our PACE methodology, download the whitepaper here.

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